Associate Professor Michael Piper

Associate Professor

School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine

Director (Research Training)

Research Strategy and Support (Medicine)
Faculty of Medicine

Affiliate Principal Research Fellow

Queensland Brain Institute
+61 7 336 54484


Dr. Piper graduated from The University of Tasmania, and received his PhD in Developmental Biology from The University of Queensland in 2003. His PhD, performed at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience with Prof. Melissa Little, centred on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying embryonic kidney development. His first postdoc was performed with Prof. Christine Holt at The University of Cambridge, UK, where he studied the mechanisms by which axonal growth cones navigate to their targets in the brain, using the frog Xenopus laevis as a model system. In his second postdoctoral position, with Prof. Linda Richards at the Queensland Brain Institute at The University of Queensland, his work focussed on understanding the molecular mechanisms of neural progenitor cell specification in the developing cerebral cortex. In late 2010, Dr. Piper took up a joint position with the Queensland Brain Institute and The School of Biomedical Sciences to continue his research into the mechanisms underlying neural stem cell differentiation. Dr. Piper holds a continuing position within the School of Biomedical Sciences.

Research Impacts

We use the cortex and cerebellum of the developing and adult mouse as a model system to elucidate the biology of neural stem cells within the brain. Ultimately, we hope to define the genes that drive the differentiation of neural progenitor cells into either neurons or glia, work that will provide insights into neurodevelopmental disorders, ageing and cancer. We currently have funding from the Australian Research Council to investigate how the birth of new neurons in the adult brain is controlled. This work aims to characterise the molecular cascades regulating adult neurogenesis, providing a clearer insight into how the process of ongoing neuronal generation is regulated in the adult brain. We also have funding from Cancer Council Queensland to investigate the factors that control cerebellar development, and how their misregulation can give rise to cancer of the cerebellum, namely medulloblastoma.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Tasmania


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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Vidovic, Diana, Piper, Michael and Harvey, Tracey J. (2016). Ependymal cells in development and disease. Hydrocephalus: prevalence, risk factors and treatment. (pp. 39-61) edited by Merle Reeves. Hauppauge, NY, United States: Nova Science Publishers.

  • Vidovic, Diana, Piper, Michael and Harvey, Tracey J. (2016). Ependymal cells in development and disease. Hydrocephalus: prevalence, risk factors and treatment. (pp. 39-62) edited by Merle Reeves. New York, NY, United States: Nova Science Publishers.

  • Piper, Michael J., Keynes, Roger J. and Cook, Geoffrey M. W. (2012). Axon guidance. eLS. (pp. 1-8) London, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000799.pub3

  • Strochlic, L., Weinl, C., Piper, M. and Holt, C. E. (2010). Axon pathfinding. Evolution of Nervous Systems. (pp. 187-209) Elsevier Inc.. doi: 10.1016/B0-12-370878-8/00118-X

  • Piper, Michael, Dawson, Amber-Lee S., Lindwall, Charlotta, Barry, Guy, Plachez, Céline and Richards, Linda J. (2008). Emx and Nfi Genes Regulate Cortical Development and Axon Guidance in the Telencephalon. Cortical Development: Genes and Genetic Abnormalities. (pp. 230-242) John Wiley and Sons Ltd.. doi: 10.1002/9780470994030.ch16

  • Piper, Michael, van Horck, Francis and Holt, Christine (2007). The role of cyclic nucleotides in axon guidance. Axon growth and guidance. (pp. 134-143) edited by Dominique Bagnard. New York, NY, United States: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-76715-4_10

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Stringer, Brett, Day, Bryan, Barry, Guy, Piper, Michael, Jamieson, Paul, Ensbey, Kathleen, Bruce, Zara, Richards, Linda and Boyd, Andrew (2013). The Glial Differentiation Factor Nuclear Factor One B (Nfib) Induces Differentiation and Inhibits Growth of Glioblastoma.. 4th Quadrennial Meeting of the World-Federation-of-Neuro-Oncology (WFNO) held in conjunction with the 18th Annual Meeting of the Society-for-Neuro-Oncology (SNO), San Francisco, United States, Nov 21-24, 2013. Cary, United States: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/not174

  • Subramanian, Lakshmi, Sarkar, Anindita, Shetty, Ashwin S., Muralidharan, Bhavana, Padmanabhan, Hari, Piper, Michael, Monuki, Edwin S., Bach, Ingolf, Gronostajski, Richard M., Richards, Linda J. and Tole, Shubha (2012). Transcription factor Lhx2 is necessary and sufficient to suppress astrogliogenesis and promote neurogenesis in the developing hippocampus. 19th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience (ISDN), Mumbai India, 11-14 January 2012. Oxford, United Kingdom: Pergamon. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2012.10.058

  • Piper, Michael, Barry, Guy, Hawkins, John, Mason, Sharon, Lindwall, Charlotta, Little, Erica, Moldrich, Randal X., Boyle, Glen M., Gronostajski, Richard M., Bailey, Timothy L. and Richards, Linda (2010). NFIA controls progenitor cell differentiation through repression of the Notch effector Hes1.

  • Piper, Michael, Dawson, Amber-Lee S., Lindwall, Charlotta, Barry, Guy, Plachez, Celine and Richards, Linda J. (2007). Emx and Nfi genes regulate cortical development and axon guidance in the telencephalon. Novartis Foundation Symposium 288, London, 6–8 February 2007. Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley. doi: 10.1002/9780470994030.ch16

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision